Apple Inc. the renowned maker of the iPhone and the iPad, is currently running a lucrative reward program under which it seeks to pay researchers who help it discover flaws in its products. According to news released by the company and published by Reuters, researcher who will successfully identify particular hitches that are hidden in the products of the company will be rewarded over the next few weeks.
Sources indicate that the planned Apple program is likely to attract the best researchers in the world. Although Apple plans officially to unveil the program on Thursday at the Black Hat conference on cyber security, it is widely rumored that the company will be willing to part with over $200,000 under the program.
The amount of money that Apple is offering and the level of excitement that such events usually trigger are some of the factors that make this program a highly anticipated event. According to Rich Mogul, a security analyst, companies that ask independent researchers to help them detect hidden flaws in their products are usually prepared to spend a considerable amount of money in the process. Interestingly, one only needs to remember that only a couple of months ago, Facebook paid a Finnish kid $10,000 for discovering a way in which Instagram users can do away with the comments of fellow users on their accounts.
But in this case, Apple is not willing to run a fully open program. The company seeks to invite a few researchers and commission them to work on the project. The job description for the researchers will be simple: to find the most hidden errors in Apple products. One of the most difficult tasks that the researchers will face is to find a way of preventing other programs from launching on Apple devices. The company refers to this approach as ‘secure boot’ and intends to use it to enhance the overall security of its products.
Experts believe that the decision of Apple to run a closed program as opposed to an open one was informed by the experiences of other companies that have run similar programs in the past. For example, Microsoft spent a whopping $1.5 million to pay researchers to detect problems in its security systems. Since Microsoft ran an open program, it was confronted with very many findings reports which it did not find very helpful. By only focusing on a small number of researchers, Apple seeks to get few but high-value results from the program.